"I thought we made a little improvement in this scrimmage over the last one, especially the offense. I thought they did a little bit better, " Bowden said. "I got a feeling that all of them probably improved since the last scrimmage, each kid, but still there were too many errors out there. Those are things we have to eliminate. Again, the key to us is getting better every time we practice and every time we scrimmage."
FSU's improvements also came with a price, as starting offensive tackle Brett Williams suffered a right shoulder sprain on the first unit's opening possession. Williams, voted the Atlantic Coast Conference's top blocker last season by the league coaches, will be held out of contact drills for the remainder of the preseason but should be fine for the Seminoles' opener against Iowa State Aug. 24.
Williams, who had his right arm in a sling, said he was injured when he fell on his shoulder trying to make a block and "then somebody fell on me. It has been bothering me since the start of two-a-days, but I will be fine." Williams' injury doesn't bode well for an offensive line that has gone from one of the team's top strengths to possible a question mark.
FSU still hasn't received a decision from the NCAA regarding the status of starting split guard Milford Brown. At issue is whether Brown has exhausted his eligibility. Also, reserve Ron Lunford suffered an ankle sprain in the scrimmage.
Still, there was good news, too.
While last Saturday's initial scrimmage featured just one touchdown on the session's opening drive, the Seminoles looked far crisper offensively.
Quarterback Chris Rix completed 11-of-18 passes for 181 yards and Talman Gardner led all receivers with 115 yards on five catches. Freshman tailback Leon Washington scored the first touchdown of the scrimmage on a 19-yard yard toss sweep. Just before the break, receiver Joey Kaleikini pulled down a 44-yard Hail Mary pass from Rix off a deflection.
"We played safer," Rix said.
"We made better decisions in all departments. We put points on the boards. We kept the momentum going after the first series. Last scrimmage, the first series (scored) then it kind of died down. We wanted to focus on keeping that momentum, that drive and that tempo throughout the whole scrimmage. I think we did that."
The defense got into the scoring column when linebacker Allen Augustin returned a fumble 44 yards for a touchdown. Middle linebacker Jerel Hudson caused the fumble on a hard lick on tailback Thomas Clatyon. Xavier Beitia completed the day's scoring with a 28-yard field goal. Linebacker Kendyll Pope and defensive end Eric Powell paced the defense with four tackles apiece, and defensive end Kevin Emanuel had two of the unit's five sacks. Reserve cornerback Jared Hetzel had an interception.
Fabian Walker, who mainly ran the No. 2 offense with Adrian McPherson out with a sprained ankle, went 5-of-13 for 74 yards with one interception. True freshman Wyatt Sexton, who continues to improve and impress with a nice throwing touch, completed 3-of-6 passes for 26 yards with the No. 3 offense. Receiver P.K. Sam chipped in three receptions for 63 yards.
"He' just needs polish, polish, polish," Bowden said of Walker. "Most guys that come back from a junior college and lay out a year it's usually that same way. So, I think he's overcoming that."
Washington totaled 22 yards on four carries to lead all rushers. Starting tailback Greg Jones carried only twice, but managed to gain 21 yards. Lorenzo Booker ran for 21 yards on seven carries and Torrance Washington had seven yards on six attempts.
"The running backs were excellent I thought," said Bowden. "We held Greg (Jones) and Nick (Maddox) out for the most part. We didn't look at Willie Reid much today either. We know what they can do. We looked at those freshmen running backs and they are impressive."
Overall, offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden says he's still looking for more big plays from his unit.
"My biggest concern right now is we are not making big plays. I think they are throwing great. They are giving us a chance for deep-ball plays and we haven't made. ... I don't think we've made one all spring. I don't know if we've made a jump ball, the thing that we live and die for here. That concerns me a little bit. We've got 10 days. We just have to get to work at it."
FSU will return to two-a-day practices Thursday, though it won't be as rigorous as it has been, according to Bowden. The Seminoles will go out in shorts Thursday morning.
While the offense made noticeable strides, questions remain about the defense, which has been hit by injuries. Patrick Newton started at rover, while reserve cornerback Malcom Tatum struggled in pass coverage.
"Definitely over a year ago," Bowden said when asked if the unit had improved over last season. "Whether it's enough, we won't find out until we play a football game. Yeah, it's got to be better with a years of experience under its belt. It's still gonna have to happen in a game before we can say yes."
Here is Randy Oravetz's injury report following the scrimmage:
"Brett has an AC sprain (right shoulder). He went to cut a guy and rolled right on that shoulder. We will just treat it. There's no doubt he's not going to put shoulder pads on until the game (Iowa State). We will just get him ready for the game. We will see about the other guys. B.J. Ward cracked a tooth. Right there at the end he banged his shoulder again. (Ron) Lunford got an ankle sprain and Ryan Reynolds got an ankle sprain, too. Cro (Craphonso Thorpe) was starting to jog a little bit today. (Adrian) McPherson was starting to jog. Anquan (Boldin) is going to see the doctor tonight and we will probably let him out of the bigger brace and come to a smaller brace and start bending that (knee). (Jeff) Womble still has a ways to go. He's still in that full leg brace. But he's walking around without crutches, so he feels better about it. The swelling has gone down. (David) Castillo (ankle), he's got a chance maybe on Monday, we will see about practicing. Same way with Kyler Hall (ankle). He rolled his ankle in practice the other day, so we will probably keep him out until Monday. Travis (Johnson) is going to practice tomorrow. He's ready (ankle), so we will bring him back tomorrow. He will probably play Friday night (scrimmage). (Darnell) Dockett is playing. I am not worrying about Dockett at this point."